Houses in Claverito, a slum in Peru
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Claverito, a slum in Peru. Photo credit: Jorge "Coco" Alarcon, Global Health Certificate student, Thomas Francis Fellowship recipient.
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BBC Health Check recently visited Lima, Peru to investigate how new 'healthy gardens' and greenspaces are improving lives in the slum community of Iquitos. Joe Zunt, a Professor of Global Health at UW, has been working closely with landscape architecture student Jorge 'Coco' Alarcon and community partners to design backyard gardens that can improve air quality, reduce vector-borne diseases, and boost mental health. 

Getting enough food is an issues for us, especially for children and older people. People often get fevers and stomach infections, or have trouble breathing because of all the dust. Having all these plants and trees has made us much more relaxed.

-Marcia, community leader in Iquitos and partner in the project

Beyond being beautiful, these gardens provide community members with food and herbs with a spectrum of utility, from indigenous remedies to exchanging for fish at the market. Listen to BBC's Health Check to learn more.